Written by: Massimo Sampaolesi. Translated by: Carlotta Belluzzi.
We are now faced with an opportunity which appears to be one chance in a million: the second round of the season has just started, and Bologna (together with many others) has reached its primary objective – safety from relegation. And no matter how much of a pessimist you are, it is impossible to think that one (or more) of the three endangered teams (Crotone, Pescara, and Palermo) will be able to distance themselves from the relegation zone by 16 points over the next 17 matches.
Either way, this opportunity is bewildering, and not just for Bologna: Donadoni will have 18 matches (one more than the other teams, as the game against Milan was postponed) to make the championship his training ground. Because when you’re training, you can experiment – and herein lies the beauty: we have half the season to really understand what steps the team needs to take to upgrade further.
In this sense, the whole football market business currently looks more like an annoyance, a distraction for the players, when really they should focus on the tasks at hand. I’ll go over the top: Bologna does not need anything at this stage. The return of Simone Verdi and his energy, the purchase of Bruno Petkovic have, I think, finalised the ‘corps de ballet’ available for the choreographer Donadoni to lead – inasmuch as the matters regarding Cerci and Biabiany seem out-dated.
I might sound repetitive, but having all this time to practice and experiment is not only a godsend, but an opportunity to understand what the team needs for the next season. Donadoni was clear: we can now build up the pace to climb those steps that separate us from our goals. And if we are to further improve over the next season, we need to start training now and, more importantly, find out who we can count on.
However, there is another reason why the current football market should be irrelevant to us: it is unlikely that this summer, the management team will be tempted by good offers from other team, as was the case with Diawara. At the moment, we do not possess a player who could reach that value and that versatility. Therefore, spending money now off our future budget would be useless, and maybe even dangerous.
Let us now go back to our “experimenting”. Far be it from me to give advice to a professional on the potential tactical settings, but I would like to put forward a thought: if Destro is our key player, wouldn’t it be interesting to try other ways to set him off? Let me explain. I personally consider him to be a great and worthy forward-striker for Mr Saputo’s project, and yet he continues to be the victim of criticism and distrust by a portion of the fanbase. This is not to say that is he being mistreated, as many fans always reiterate their support, but it is also true that everyone would like to see him be more effective. This is why the phase we are currently in could be beneficial for the next season: finding the right balance now would mean having a way out during future darker times. The same goes for Donsah and Rizzo, who should be given the opportunity to start on their personal growth.
But these are all simple suggestions. One thing is clear: we need some elbow grease. But most of all, we need ‘calm oil’.